Saturday, January 31, 2009

Code Red

Alright, so while reading Fish's post on not enjoying the PVP server, I told him if he had troubles declare a Code Red. What is a Code Red? Great question, let me explain it to you. My wife (who sometimes reminds me of Fish or vice-versa, seeings as I knew her first) dispises getting ganked. She too dislikes when she is minding her own business and gets killed for no reason other than being in a contested zone where people who are much higher have nothing better to do than grief. On that note, it does not bother me as I accept it is part of the game and enjoy the challenge of a tactical withdraw or good old fashion war. At any rate, a while back she got so mad that she yelled Code Red and a bunch of us logged to our mains, basically because some were bored while others enjoy any reason to unleash hell on the Alliance, and rode to Tarren Mill. It always seems to go back there. Ever since that occurred, the guild operates on if a Code Red is declared that this person has hit the breaking point and the situation must be dealt with. At current, only my wife declares a Code Red, but all petitions for this are routed to her. We do not use this often, but when we do, we unleash from the guild and usually get worked into a frenzy where we do not stop until we feel justice has been served.

So what constitutes a Code Red? Another great question. I love PVP and honestly if someone comes into the guild and complains about being killed by a big old mean Alliance player, I will usually ignore them and refer them to the guild rules which lets all members know that we are on a PVP server and it is expected that they will have issues. So simply getting killed while questing is not enough of a reason to declare a Code Red. The two things that makes me think of a Code Red are as follows:

Corpse Camping

I truly do not get the joy of corpse camping. It will usually only occurr when there are signifigantly superior numbers or when someone is 20 levels above the character they are killing. My reason for disliking the corpse camping community is that it does not take skill. It does not take knowledge. It pretty much just requires someone who is either really bored or unable to do content at their current level. My recemmendation for those individuals would be to go to battleground or join an arena team, that will allow you to develop skill and also earn you something for your time. I have noticed in my time of playing that this crowd of people usually tend to be fresh to the level cap and horribly geared. I know this because I always look folks up in the armory. I am always curious about gear and experience. At any rate corpse camping is the first reason for a Code Red.

Holding a Town Hostage

This one is not so much a reason that I detest, but more of the fact that I love World PVP and I feel when groups attack towns they are wanting a fight. So I give credit to those groups who do it for the right reason and I have no problem with you mowing down my lowbies and guildies so long as you can handle what happens in retaliation.

Now there are different responses for a Code Red. For instance if you are a corpse camper, you might as well decide to log onto an alt, because it will be a while before you get a chance to play this toon again. I am a firm believe in the "Eye for an Eye" mentality. While I do not condone or promote corpse camping, if you are found guilty of doing this, then the best punishment is to be camped yourself. As a guild, we taught a lesson to a particular Death Knight a few nights ago who had not only corpse camped, but was a repeat offender. It was brutal for this individual and his corpse was still laying in the zone two days after the incident. Again, this was a punishment dealt out for an individual who was a repeat offender.

For the World PVP Code Red, we simply go on a run till we get bored. We do not typically stay in the same zone, if it seems there is no counter response we will move on to the next city until we find a sufficient response. Sometimes, it will end in the same zone and we will gain new respect for the Alliance members who show up, other times we will move on. The other night, we were called to Tarren Mill (first for corpse camping, then for the Alliance taking over Tarren Mill. Have to love the multiple Code Reds.) to assist. We retaliated by taking South Shore. No response was shown so we moved to Refuge Point. Then Menethil Harbor. Needless to say, it was a rough night. So with nothing else to do and wanting to have some action we went to Honors Hold in Hellfire.

Needless to say we did take out the commander and found some great competition. We held the keep for a while, but with the time of night we decided to leave. Was much more difficult for the five of us to get out than to get in, but it was a fun time had by all and my personal thanks to the Alliance for being gracious hosts.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Holy Paladin 101 Final Thoughts

Well, I have been reviewing the recent posts and I feel pretty confident that the information listed here has proven valuable to the potential holy Paladins out there, as well as the established holy Paladins. In the future, after I have some time to think about the subject, we may move on to a series which breaks down a talent build for holy Paladins, the use of spells and when it is appropriate to cast those spells, perhaps a more in depth idea of how to heal groups, and also perhaps a debate on if holy Paladins should acquire Blessings of Kings or if there is some other things that are more suitable.

As for right now, it is about time for me to go work on digging out my vehicle so I can return to work and rejoin the world.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Holy Paladin 101 Gear

I was sitting here looking over the topics we have covered and it occurred to me that I had not yet reviewed anything concerning gear. Being a holy Paladin really opens up a wide array of gear with the goal being plate gear with the four pillars of statistics on them. Sounds pretty simple, but you will find out that it is a lot more complicated than that. So let us break it down into sections to look over:

Level 1 - 39

Alright, so these are the baby steps of your Paladin life. The early stages is pretty much how I will refer to these, as we are learning all about our abilities and how to apply them. During this stage of our life as a Paladin we are going to be wearing mail armor. So get use to being in direct competition with the Shaman class on instance runs, which if you have been reading my blog for a while you will recall that I did a series on the classes I do like to run with and was nice enough to attach my reasoning behind these thoughts. Anyway, back on topic. So as you are leveling early, I would recommend that you acquire only mail armor as you will be doing many quests on your own and the boosted armor numbers are going to be important. We also want to get in the habit early on of learning to look for the proper stats.

Level 40 - 58

So now you are 40 and can get your hands on some plate gear. Plate gear provides the best protection for any healing class and allows us a lot more flexibility in what we do as healers compared to our colleagues. So is plate gear important during this range of levels. I still say yes here. Our goal is to now switch from looking for good mail gear and acquire solid plate gear with the statistics we have deemed important. Will we find a lot of it? Not so much, unless you happen to belong to a guild or solid group of friends who will be willing to run you through the original content. I would recommend avoiding spending time on running these instances as once you begin on the BC content, it would seem rather pointless as the stats are dwarfed by green drops and quest rewards.

Level 59 - 70

So you have learned how to heal by now, at least we all hope so. Now what do you do? Continue to look for the best plate gear you can get. At this point if you are not wearing plate you may be lacking in skills. I do not mean this to sound poor or reflect badly on you as a person, but you should have honed your skills and made it a habit of knowing what stats you need and selecting the proper gear. In BC, Blizzard made a push to make playing Paladins popular and there is an overabundance of gear specifically designed for Paladins of all specs. I would also recommend to spend time running through the end-game content of BC and acquiring as much of this gear as possible since it will carry you well into the 70s.

Level 71 - 80

This is it, the spell power should be swelling within you. Your mana regeneration should allow you to cast endless Flash of Light spells and your intellect should be off the charts at this point, at least for BC content. If you have not made it to this point, the next ten levels are going to be very difficult for you. Make sure and take the time to acquire solid gear from the BC content as Blizzard left out the plate spell power gear and focused on Warriors and Death Knights. Please do not get me wrong, there is solid gear there for Paladins, but we must be very careful not to move our balance off for what our role is. I have read of several Paladins who abandoned the protection and holy trees to go retribution for the purposes of leveling. While that is a good idea for leveling purposes it will not help you learn how to heal at all. A lot of the decent plate gear with spell power will come from instances. If on the other hand you raced to get to WotLK content, then there may be some decent upgrades for you.

Another option for gearing yourself is by selecting gear other than plate. I have frowned on this type of equipping up until this point solely because I wanted you to be making a habit of looking for gear with the best stats. At this point if you have not learned this, your character is probably already out of alignment or you are thinking of switching specs. At any rate, feel free to select some (notice the use of the word some and not of all) gear that is not plate gear. There are some very viable leather and mail gear which can be used for Paladins. Just be careful to not go overboard with this as the ability to wear plate is one of the advantages that we have over other classes.

The Take Away

Alright, so there you have it. A simple basic guide of what kind of gear you want and when you want it. If you apply this to the basics we have already covered you will be well on your way to being able to be a solid holy Paladin. Perhaps you disagree and feel like there is a better way to do some of this. Please feel free to try it. They joy of WoW is that there are multiple ways to do things and there is no one guaranteed method. While some strategies have proven successful feel free to try different things. An example from my own leveling was that people said you could heal Kara without having MP5 gear (basically meaning not using my arena and battleground gear). I took it as a personal offense and ran as the main healer through Kara successfully clearing it on my first run. I wish it would have been with the guild, but I wanted to prove that it was doable and a PUG was the perfect setting for such an attempt. Did I stick with that mentality? Hell no! MP5 is extremely important, but at the time that I played our guild was not as serious and there was a lot of time where I was leveling alone, so to me battleground and then eventually arena was a better goal and something that was more attainable. In retrospect, when my wife started to play, I had her run through the proper progression of dungeons and raids to gear the way that I outlined here because I realized the important of these stats and wanted to save her the misery of having to be perfect with her casting. It is nice to have that little added bonus of MP5. At any rate, that is just an example to say that there are multiple ways to do things which will get you to your goals. The point is to have fun and enjoy the game. I just want to offer some advice to Paladins who may have some questions or are not sure if being holy is the talent build for them.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Holy Paladin 101 Trade Skills

As the title states we are going to look at the trade skills available and determine what may or may not be a good fit for a holy Paladin. I can say, in all honesty, that I feel trade skills are the most overlooked resource for the majority of the players, especially on their first character. This was the case for me with my Paladin and I have been through several different trade skills until I finally selected what worked best in my situation. I am wanting to approach this topic though from the belief that this is the basics, in other words it is the first character and the first time you have played WoW. With this clarification out of the way, let's take a look at the trade skills which can be most beneficial to our class.

The very first thing that comes to mind, and this is in no particular order, is blacksmithing. At the lower levels there is not much to be gained for a holy Paladin, but at the highest levels we are able to gain some of the best crafted pre-raiding gear available. The best situation is if you have a character you use as a gatherer and they would be able to gather your materials for the equipment you desire. (In all honesty, having one or two characters who will gather herbs, metals, and leather will go a long way in helping your ability to craft, but that is a topic for a whole different blog.)

Another suitable trade skill would be jewelcrafting. I think it gives the best rewards right up front and can assist with some of the harder to find things such as trinkets, rings, and neck equipment. You also gain the added bonus of being able to cut your own gems, which can save you a small fortune at the auction house. It is even better if you supply your own materials, as you save a ton of your gold for stuff that perhaps you are not able to craft or luxary items such as vanity pets or mounts.

Engineering can provide you with a couple of nice peices of equipment for your head and also offer you some minor items such as repair bots and things of that nature. It is less of a benefit to the class, but I think it is the utility of the trade skill that can help. There is nothing like having a high level engineer in a run who can drop a repair bot and help keep the group running smooth, also you are able to purchase your own reagents for your greater blessing spells.

Probably the most overlooked trade skill for a holy Paladin is being an alchemist. It provides a myriad of options to you. You can create your own potions, whether mana or health. You have the ability to create elixirs and potions which will boost key stats, such as spell power. When doing solo quests or grinds, you can boost stats that we normaly are not concerned about. It is definitely worth having a look at if you have not considered this as an option.

Enchanting is a great option for almost any class. With enchanting you reap the rewards immediately rather than waiting as you will have to with something like blacksmithing, engineering, or even jewelcrafting to an extent. It is also a great way to earn some spare gold, either by selling your disenchanted materials on the auction house or selling your enchants in a trade channel.

The trade skill I view least valuable to the holy Paladin is inscription. There is no immediate value to our class in this skill. There are but a handful of glyphs that you can make that will be of value and the time it will take to make these glyphs and the amount of herbs that it will take is a huge amount of time. In my opinion, that time can be used much more efficient in raising reputatin with factions for gear or running instances for gear. The plus side is that because of the time it takes, a lot of people on my server seem to be shying away from it at this point, so profit is up for the sale of the glyphs as there is no competition driving the prices down, but this is something that can change and you will not be able to control. That is why I advise staying away from this particular skill, unless the holy Paladin is not your main character, then perhaps this would be a good choice simply because you have other characters who are high levels and it would make no sense to spend the time leveling it again.

A secondary trade skill to look at is cooking. There are a couple of really nice recipes that will raise the spell power of your character. I bring this up because I see a lot of people who ignore this skill and it is an easy skill to level as you get many materials by simply doing your regular quests and daily grinds.

Fishing is a good secondary skill but I would only suggest spending the time to level this if you are going with alchemy, as some of the potions will require items from fishing. Also, fishing does supply some materials for your fishing skill as well.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Holy Paladin 101 Statistics (Lesson 6)

Alright, this is the last in the series on statistics. I know that there was a lot of statistics that we did not discuss and I did not wish to end this series without discussing why those other statistics are not important to us (holy Paladins).

The first one that I am sure people will have a question on is going to be spirit. Why would we not want a stat that will help us restore mana? That is a good question and rightly asked. The reason you do not want to focus on spirit is because there is no benefit to this stat. Sure it regenerates mana every five seconds, but this is while not casting. If you are out of battle and you need to regenerate mana you should be able to do so without wasting time waiting on your statistical regeneration to support you. Not to mention that groups will dispise you and probably give you the swift boot out of the group.

Another statistic that I am sure someone may have wondered why it was not included was stamina. Wouldn't it be a good idea to be able to take a hit or two in combat? Good thought, but let me ask you why in the world would a healer (I am thinking of this from a group/instance/raid standpoint, we will deal with individual in a second) want to take a hit? You are there to heal, not to tank or dps. If those were your goals, immediately quit reading this blog and go log onto your account and respec yourself to the proper tree for doing that sort of thing. Remember, if you are taking hits, you or the tank are more than likely doing something wrong. Do not feel too bad, it is easy to get carried away with adding stamina. When in solo play, having stamina is not a bad idea, but considering we wear plate armor, I would still shy from looking for stamina as a main pillar. Again, we want to think of this as an overall goal for our build. The other thing to remember is that as you level, you will find gear that has multiple options, if you find a piece with two or three of the main pillars of our build and it has stamina in addition, then I would say equip it. Remember to do this in moderation though.

The rest of the statistics that you could equip are all going to be focussed for either a retribution or protection spec and would prove to be worthless to our cause. I hope in closing that this has been helpful. I know that when I started playing there was a lot of information for me if I wanted to pursue being a tank, but not so much information for going the holy route. I am not sure what the next topic will be in the basics series. There is some basic information we can touch on regarding the gear itself and what to look for or we could look at talent builds. I will do a little thinking because I want to stay basic and then move on to some deeper topics such as methods to healing and the mechanics of the spells and some different methods you can employ, and yes there are other methods besides spamming Flash of Light, especially with all the new toys.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Holy Paladin 101 Statistics (Lesson 5)

Alright so over the last four days we have spent a lot of time reviewing what I consider to be the four fundamental pillars for building a successful holy Paladin. In this article I am going to review when each of these statistics will become important and then wrap this section up of this particular series.

So a quick review for anyone who may have just wandered onto the subject material. The first pillar is intellect. The second is spell power. The third pillar is mana regeneration per 5 seconds while casting. The fourth and final pillar is critical strike rating.

So when do we want what and why? Alright, that is a fair question and we can review it indepth for you. When you start out in the game the very first stat you will need to concern yourself with is going to be intellect. As your spells are going to be both offensive and healing in nature and you will spend much time questing, obtaining the largest pool of mana is the best course of action. I would continue gathering as much intellect as possible into the mid 20s. One you start getting into the mid 20s range, there will start to be more options and spell power gear should be somewhat available. So if it is there and it contains some intellect, make sure and grab it. This will be your standard operating from this point on. Do not copromise yourself in this area, grab gear with intellect always, if there is an option for intellect plus spell power, then make sure and pick it up. By the time you get the BC content, you will start to see gear that intellect, spell power, and occassionaly MP5. Make sure and acquire this gear. As in the BC content you spend more time spamming Flash of Light than anything else, this will guarantee a large pool of mana, decent spell power, and if you acquire the MP5 gear, plenty of mana regeneration to keep you running non-stop. As you approach the late 60s, you will see more gear which will have intellect, spell power, and critical strike rating. Review the gear closely, if there is not an option that has MP5, then go ahead and pick up the critical strike rating, as by the time you hit WotLK, critical strike rating will become important.

So what is a good balance of numbers? To be honest I am not a number cruncher and I did not pay attention to the numbers early in the game and I have no intention of rolling another holy Paladin to find out. Sorry guys, but I can say early on do not concern yourself with the numbers, work on acquiring the gear with the stats listed here and you will be fine. I can say that after the patch where they combined spell power and running Kara (before nerf), I was at 1100 spell power, had around 11,000 mana, MP5 was at 175 range, and the critical percentage I had was 25% for holy. I did not have any issues whatsoever with running Kara or ZA. After they nerfed the raid content, I stopped tracking as I felt it was pointless, but I am confident those stats would have worked out fine.

In retrospect, looking at WotLK content, I am not sure where Iwant to take my build. The use of mana consumption has dropped, so maintaining an MP5 level that is close to the cost of my Flash of Light would seem like a waste of stats. Intellect is going to still be primary as it allows for the mana pool to cast your spells and helps to improve your critical strike number slightly. I went for a build (and this is pre-raiding) of 1600 spell power (for pre-heroic instance), 200 MP5, and wanting to boost crit to 25-30%. This seemed to work well while using Beacon of Light and Sacred Shield effectively. The guild has not yet ran the raid content out there (as we tend to take our time on raid progression and I personally am more PVP oriented). My goal for raid gear is to boost the spell power to 2000+, the MP5 I am going to attempt to leave at 200 (although if my mana consumption remains low, I may lower it back to BC content levels), and the critical strike percentage I would like to see would be above 40%. It looks like a doable goal and the numbers would seem to support the roles I would likely perform in a raid group.

Tomorrow we will look at some of the other stats and some reasons why I do not feel they warrant to be on the holy Paladin build.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Holy Paladin 101 Statistics (Lesson 4)

Alright, we have made it to the final stat that I consider to be the four pillars for a strong and successful holy Paladin. What is that stat you may ask yourself? That is a good question. The answer would be critical strike. I hope you were not thinking it was going to be spirit or stamina. So let's focus in on critical strike rating and why it is important to us.

When thinking of it in terms of PVE, we have to look at how we will be healing. For solo play, which is usually for quests or repuation, it will help you with your offensive punch. Such a strange phrase for a holy Paladin, but we have to keep our offense in mind for leveling and questing purposes. Now if we are looking at its application in group and instance level of play, then the benefit becomes even better. As a healer (which I am assuming we have figured out that this is our role by now) you will not be fighting, so critical strike rating is a direct effect to your healing abilities. The higher the critical rating the better chance you have of popping off the heal that will keep your tank up for a few more minutes. Again, we are looking at that from a group/instance standpoint. As you level into the Wrath content, it is even more important as you will leave your ways of spamming Flash of Light and begin to explore using Beacon of Light, Holy Shock, Holy Light, and Sacred Shield (eventually) more often, and your Flash of Light days will be but a distant memory. The importance for critical strike rating becomes more important with the use of your healing spells at this point as the higher the heal, the less heals you will need, thus lowering your mana consumption. In light of this process, by the time you hit the raid level for PVE you will have a good grasp of what works and understand the importance of the critical strike rating.

So we can definitely discern the importance of the critical strike rating for PVE, but what about PVP? I think we just answered that question by stating PVP. Regardless of healing or being on the offensive, the more spell power that is upped from a critical hit, will be a good thing for you.

In tomorrows post I will review the four pillars and break down when they become important to us and what changes occurr as we progress through these. It will be a good way to tie up this particular discussion and then in the following posts I will review the reasons why I do not favor stamina, spirit, or anything else you may think should have been in there.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Holy Paladin 101 Statistics (Lesson 3)

Okay, so in the last two posts we have discussed intellect and spell power as being the cornerstone of the holy Paladin, but what other statistics are important for us? Well, I have always ran with the belief that there are four pillars for a solid holy Paladin. The third stat that I feel is important is mana regenerated every five seconds while casting or MP5 as most of the WoW community will refer to it.

I will admit that there has not been much focus on this particular stat in the expansion. I have seen a large part of the holy Paladin community moving away from this stat in favor of other stats. I still feel that we must monitor our mana pool very closely. I will admit that when casting properly and using all of the new spells and abilities to the fullest, mana consumption seems to be much lower than it ever has been; however, how long will this be allowed to go on? The other thought I have is that when in long fights or those "oh shit!" moments, being able to continue healing is a must. If we abandon the MP5 in favor of stacking something else, we may find a wipe and some very upset friends.

When thinking about the application of MP5 for PVE, it is pretty self explanatory. The more mana regenerated the less down time you will have. It is that much better if it regenerates while you are in combat. If we break down PVE to three categories, I would say that MP5 is more important the smaller the group. For instance, if you are questing alone, the less time between your battles will allow the completion of your quests that much quicker, this will then increase the experience earned per hour moving you closer to your goal. In a group of five, the same principal holds true. The more mana you regenerate while in combat will mean less down time for a group. This can be helpful when running with a group that is less dependant on mana regeneration. In a raid group, you will have a particular job to perform and thus the raid leader should take into consideration the ability to regenerate mana and assign your healing assignment accordingly. As a holy Paladin, you will more often find yourself assigned to a single target heal such as a main tank or off tank. You may receive secondary assignments, but this will be dependant of the group, so your mana regeneration may or may not be an issue, but it never hurts to be able to pick up someone else's assignments should they fall or find theirself out of mana.

When we review the use of MP5 for PVP, then we would look at three distinct types of PVP. The first type would be world PVP, this is a pretty basic and random type of PVP, you may take on an oponent two levels lower or ten levels higher. The MP5 does not matter as much here, but can prove to be useful. When in a battleground, MP5 will be more useful in an organized battleground than in a mob that has no order. In either situation, the ability to maintain prolonged heals will be somewhat useful. The real test of your abilities as a holy Paladin for PVP will come in the form of arena, whether it is 2v2, 3v3, or 5v5. It will be important to be able to keep your mana levels up as some matches end in seconds while others run for an extended period of time. It is the longer matches that present the most challenge as this means you will more than likely mean you are both healing and using offensive abilities, which means that it will drain mana that much quicker.

When thinking about the prospect of gearing your holy Paladin, at lower levels you will still be looking for intellect and spell power first. The first chance you get to really be able to acquire all three of these items on one piece of gear will be in the BC content. I would recomend to acquire as much MP5 as possible through BC, as the majority of your healing will be focussed on casting Flash of Light, which will require a constant stream of mana. As you progress in Northrend, everything that you learned in BC will be changed and you will want to make sure to maintain a solid amount of MP5, but our fourth pillar for a holy Paladin will come into play.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Holy Paladin 101 Statistics (Lesson 2)

Alright, yesterday was somewhat of an easy post. We all know that the cornerstone for every caster is going to be their mana pull which is directly tied to intellect. I want to take a look at what I consider the second statistic of importance for a holy Paladin which is spell power. You can stack all types of stats onto your Paladin, which is half the fun of the class, but to be a serious holy Paladin, spell power is what makes you tick. It is as basic of a concept as the intellect. The higher the spell power, the higher your holy spells will go. Another simple stat, but without this one, you are worthless. The danger it appears currently, is to find the right amount of spell power.

When you start the game, you will not find a lot of spell power mail gear. It is not so much a concern. As you level you will find more and more spell power mail and plate gear. Make sure and pick it up. It is ,once you hit the mid (I suppose the mid just keeps growing with each expansion) levels, that the spell power will become important. I know this is yet a basic thought, but I cannot believe how many holy Paladins I have seen who will neglect spell power gear in favor of other stats. I will typically make the assumption that they are either new or collecting an off spec set. A true story, I did one time at 70, go into heroic Hellfire Ramparts on my hunter. The group was solid. I always inspect people as soon as I get near enough. I was pleased with what I found until I got to the holy Paladin, who for some reason thought that having high amounts of stamina was as important as the intellect. The Paladin also was lacking in the spell power area. Needless to say this group fell apart, but not from lack of effort. The Paladin tried his hardest to muddle through. He spammed Flash of Light after Flash of Light, all to no avail. My point here is that we must stay focused on our build as we go. The higher you get the more important it is to look for the gear with the proper stats built onto it.

Again, when we look at the application of spell power to your gear, it is a necessity, regardless if your goal is PVE or PVP. No discussion on this subject. Anything else will simply result in wasting your time and ruining the reputation of a great class.

So in closing out todays lesson, we have now added that along with intellect we need spell power. The huge pool of mana will mean nothing if we do not have an appropriate level of spell power to match it. In the next lesson, we will continue to focus on the statistic subject and move to the third stat that is going to make your life so much better as a holy Paladin.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Holy Paladin 101 Statistics (Lesson 1)

Alright, so we are going to look at several stats over the next few days that are going to be useful to you as you level your holy Paladin. As this is an ongoing series we will take each stat and review it as to how it will apply to the holy Paladin in PVE, PVP (both battleground and arena).

The very first stat that we will take a look at is going to be intellect. Yes, I do realize that this is pretty much a given considering it is the basis for all casters, including the holy Paladin. The more intellect you have the better off you are. At the lowest levels you will find plenty of mail/plate that has intellect. The trick is going to be at the higher levels where there are multiple stats on items. It will be imperative that you find the best plate gear with intellect that does not have pointless stats on it. (Do not worry, we will discuss the stats which are useless to holy Paladins.) As you hit the Wrath expansion, plate gear with true holy Paladin stats seems to be scarce. I would suggest looking at mail and even some leather gear that may drop random or that can be obtained from quests. The meat of the gear will be found in the instances or from crafters. As we progress farther into reviewing stats this will make more sense.

As far as the application of intellect for PVE and PVP, more is better!

I know that this is all pretty basic information, but remember we must first establish the basics and then we can get into the more fun aspects of being a holy Paladin. Tomorrow we will take a look at the second statistic that is going to be imparative, and I promise it will be somewhat more indepth (if that is possible for the basics).

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Holy Paladin 101 Position

Alright, as I was reviewing some information for this series I decided to litteraly start at the very beginning for being a Holy Paladin. These first few posts are litteraly the basics of play, but I think we all should be on the same page. Another way to look at it is that when you have a baby, the first big thing that they learn to do is roll over, then it is to sit up, and they progress from there. So in light of this, we are going to start off easy and then we will move on to some other things.

The very first thing that we learn as a Holy Paladin trying to heal is that we have to get in a good position. For quite some time the only heals that we will be able to use will have a casting time frame. As such, it is imperative that we learn how to position ourselves in a group. What I try to do is find a central location where I should be able to see the majority of the party and keep them in range. When in a room, so long as there is not something that mob does which will mess you up, try to position yourself in the middle. This will allow the party to maneuver wherever they need to and you will be able to see them. Another option is if there is a raised surface that you can stand on, try to get on it. This will allow optimal line of sight, which we need in order to cast our spells.

The second aspect of finding a good position, is to realize that you may end up needing to move. So try not to get wedged somewhere that is hard to move. This is more of a concern on a raised surface or darker area (where you may not notice an obstacle). We have to keep in mind that, especially in an instance, we need to be able to follow the tank. If the tank is fighting a mob that has a knockback ability, then we will need to make sure to keep an eye on the range of our spells and if the tank is hit with such a move, make every effort to close back in range.

As you level positioning becomes even more important, so by learning early the range of your spells and forming a habit of looking for the best spot will only help you whether you are soloing, questing, running an instance, participating in a raid, or in a battleground/arena match. It is not always easy, but better to learn it early on rather than getting screamed at by other players.

I know this is a simple concept, but I have ran in groups where healers stand still and expect the tank to bring the fight back into range. This is unacceptable behavior for any healing class and unfortunately it happens. So this is litteraly the very basic of concepts to learn. Tomorrow we will take a look at what is the stats of choice to be concerned with as a holy Paladin and how to approach gearing properly for what you are trying to do.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Healing, A Paladin's Thoughts

I was sitting here today reading through my older posts and thinking about where I wanted to go with the blog. There are a lot of topics that I can cover in here that are related to WoW. Being the head of a guild naturally gives me a lot of perspective on WoW. I have several alts at or above 70, so there is a lot of experience that I can bring and share with everyone. I love the aspects of both PVP and PVE, more recently I have been longing for PVP and the excitement of trying to win those matches. If you have never participated in an arena match, it is worth the experience. It is so different from running an instance with a set strategy. At the end of BC the guild was starting to spread it's wings and venture into running raids, some of which were successful and others were not so. At the end of the day though, I truly want to focus on the aspects of playing WoW as a holy Paladin, which is going to lean heavily on the aspects of healing. This got me thinking back to when I first switched to being a healer. I always felt you stand there and do nothing but cast "a spell" to keep the group alive. How difficult could this be? I had so much to learn. I am lucky that at the time I was leveling, I had a core group of people, so I rarely had to PUG anything, which is probably good for the PUGs.

So as my mind is wandering through these thoughts, I am sure you are asking where this post is going. That is a good question to ask. At first I was going to do a rundown on the different things I have done as of late and share the experiences, which would be fine, but I decided to go a different way with this. I always get compliments on my heals when I group with people who are not members of my guild. (Some people do not appreciate what they have, until they do not have it, but that is a discussion for another day.) I actually had some really nice compliments the other night, which made me think, maybe I should do a series on what makes a holy Paladin a good healer. I can tell you that just having some spell power gear and spamming flash of light is not going to do the job like it did in the past, but we will get to this in time. I do not know how long this series will run, but I do think it is an important thing for both Paladins and other classes to understand what it is that we do for healing and how best to accomplish it. I am going to start the series in my next post and we will see how long this thing runs. There is a lot of information that can be covered and I will try to get to as much of it as possible. I am going to warn you ahead of time that the first few posts will be as basic as basic can be, but sometimes it is the basics that elude us.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Know Thy Friends (Warlock Edition)

Alright, the last class to take a look at. The Warlock is one of my favorite classes. The second character I leveled to 70 and played with in arena was my Warlock. It was hard for me to come to the realization that Blizzard has turned their backs on the Warlocks of the world. In the expansion all reports and personal experiences have shown that right now in their current state, Warlocks rank at the bottom of DPS. That is painful to hear, but it has not stopped me from making plans to level my own Warlock, but what it has done is forced me to take a dim view of the current state of this class.

When looking soley at group dynamics for my Paladin to heal, I currently view the Warlock class as being gimped and not worth having in a group. Sure they offer some CC, but it is my experience that they have one of the weaker CC (the Succubus) and banish is only useful against demons. Sure they were great in BC and I loved grouping with them, but they have shown nothing but misery to me in the expansion. Hopefully Blizzard will work on correcting this issue and at least put them on a level field for DPS at least. There is no mistaking that, while I love the class, they are currently a liability to a group (unless you are an OP group).

As for blessings for Warlocks, it is pretty straight forward that I go with GBoW to help with their mana regeneration. I pretty much hold back on healing all caster classes, so the heals are kept to a minumum unless things have broken down, in which case the Warlock is usually dead already.

I know this is a shorter post than the others, but with the limitted DPS and weak CC, there is really not much to say. I hope Blizzard will balance this class out and at least give them a shot to compete on the DPS level. Only time will tell.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Know They Friends (Shaman Edition)

Okay, so we are moving on in my thoughts on other classes and why or why not I want to group with them. Again, I just want to say that this series is an opinion based piece. I have come to these conclusions after having spent quite some time playing WoW as both a PVP and PVE holy Paladin. The next class I would like to take a look at is the Shaman.

I personally enjoy playing a Shaman. I have one sitting at 70. The problem I have with the Shaman is that they really do not distinquish theirself enough to get into a group. They have good heals, but when you think healer the Shaman is usually not the first healing class to pop into your heads. This is really a shame because they have some pretty versatile healing abilities. I guess that would be a subject for another post.

So when looking at a group that has the healer established as a holy Paladin, that pretty much means the Shaman's healing is not required. This means we must compare them to the DPS/CC classes of the group. The major draw back for this is going to be the lack of the CC. The damage that a well geared and knowledgable Shaman can put out is adequate, but typically not chart topping. So this simply means that to put the Shaman in, you lose considerable firepower and CC. What sense would that make? Sure we can look at the buffs and totems that the Shaman can bring, and those things are definitely great. The totems alone could offset the lower damage numbers, but it is the CC in my opinion that matters most. If you have not figured this out at this point and time, I pretty much failed at presenting my idea group.

I will admit that if one of the other classes are not available, I will gladly take a Shaman in a group with me. As for the buff of choice for the Shaman, I will typically give GBoW to them. They are heavy mana users and very dependant on the mana for being able to put out the damage, so naturally the blessing that will improve their MP5 is the one of choice. When it comes to the healing aspect of grouping with a Shaman, I treat them as any caster DPS and heals are used only in the most dire of circumstances.

All and all the Shaman is a good class and the only downside to having one in a group with me is the lack of CC. If they ever get some CC, I would really have to reevaluate the concept of my preferred group.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Know Thy Friends (Priest Edition)

Alright, back on track and continuing my thoughts on the different classes who are not the most preferred to be in my group. This brings me to Priests. I will admit that priests are probably the single best healer in the game when played well; however, when they are not healing, I do not think they deserve a spot in a group, unless there is just a short supply of DPS/CC available. I know that many people are already disagreeing with me, but you will see once more that the reasoning behind my feelings to be sound.

So let's look at a Priest a little closer. What is the first thing you think of when you saw this was about Priests? Healing. That pretty much says it all. There is no need for two healers in a group and if my Paladin is healing, then why would a group need a second healer? They do decent damage? What class are we comparing their damage output to? Warlocks? We all know that Warlocks are not up to par right now as a whole. Let's compare them against the other members of the group that I would have in place of a Priest. So do we replace the Rogue with a Priest? Well, we gain some buffs that would be nice right? Well, yes, the buffs would be nice, but we lose the higher DPS and reliable CC and gain a few buffs and a very limitted CC. To me that does not really equal out. Should we replace the Hunter with the Priest? Perhaps of the group, the Hunter would be a good target, but then again the damage that Hunters are currently putting out is topping most DPS lists and they have several different forms of CC available. Once again I cannot justify removing the Hunter for a Priest. So, what about the Mage? I am not even going there. Simply put a Priest who is not healing is not worth placing in a group. Again, there are always exceptions and there are some really good priests, but I think Priests are best suited for healing and with this article focusing on the group that my holy Paladin would run with, a holy Priest would not fit very well.

Another detractor to me wanting to take a Priest is for some reason every Priest I run with who does not heal ends up pulling agro and dieing. Then they rez and complain about their death. We rinse and repeat. It is just not worth the frustration of having someone constantly complaining in the group.

If I do run with a Priest, there is no doubt that they get GBoW. I ignore the ones who ask for anything else, and believe me there are those who want GBoK. As for healing goes, I treat a Priest like any other caster class, the heals are very limitted as I believe they must have a way to control their agro and not pull it from a tank. I still stand by my Rules to Live By post.

In closing, I feel Priest are bar none the top healing class in the game currently. With a great tank, they will not be easily topped when the player has skills. In contrast, as a DPS/CC, there is not much to be desired. They offer minimal DPS and their CC is very limitted. Unfortunately for a five man group with a holy Paladin, there is just not enough positives to justify them taking another position that could be filled by a class that has much more to offer.

Friday, January 16, 2009

A Brief Break From WoW

I am taking today and stepping away from World of Warcraft for this particular post to pay homage to a great man who is no longer with us. It has been one year since you left us and we miss you.

Rest in peace Dad.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Know Thy Friends (Paladin Edition)

Alright, so now we get to the class that is near and dear to me. Alot of my friends had asked me why I went with a Warrior over a Paladin for tanking. So I plan to address this along with why I did not want a retribution Paladin for DPS.

On the subject of tanking, it was really a tough call. Paladins have received a lot of nice tools to use while tanking and have gained a new taunt in the last patch. Blizzard has worked to make the class a solid tanking option and I respect that. I also respect the efforts of the great core of Paladin tanks out there, but my issue is not so much with what they can or cannot do, it is more with the one limitation that will not change. Paladins are a mana using class. No matter how hard we try to get around this fact, they are reliant upon mana and unfortunately in a prolonged fight or multiple bad pulls (take your pick here), I have seen Paladin tanks struggle. There are exceptions and I am fortunate enough to have a couple good Paladin tanks in my guild, and they know that I value them and will run anytime with them; however, we are talking on a broad general basis. With this thought in mind, a lot of Paladins suffer from the same issue which affects Druids, they switch specs too often and that is what causes many to not be at the top of their game. I speak of this from experience. I started out as a retribution Paladin and never had issues with this until BC content where no one would take me because burst damage was not as valued and average DPS was lacking. I switched to tanking, thinking that I stand there and get beat on, a healer heals me, and the DPS mow down the bad guys. This was so off basis it was not even funny. I then switched to healing and had to learn how to heal, but this came easy for me and I have been a healer in almost all the old world content, the BC content and much of the new expansion content. I never switched once I found my home as a healer and as such, I feel, I have stayed at the top of my game. Unfortunately, most hybrid specs cannot stick with one talent. If you doubt me, read the forums, all anyone cares about is being able to be duel spec. I think this is a negative for classes that can do multiple things such as tanking, healing and providing solid DPS. Time will tell if I am incorrect there.

As for the retribution Paladins out there. I simply do not trust you. Nothing too personal. I know what retributions are capable of and I am excited at how well they play (I rolled a new Paladin just to be able to play retribution), but it does not change the fact that most retribution Paladins suffer from the same problem I have with Death Knights, they charge reclessly in, ignoring kill orders, marks, show no regard for breaking CC, and pretty much feel they are unstoppable. Some of this behavior has died down, as this class of player naturally migrated to the Death Knight class, but it is still there. I have respect for the retribution tree and hope that in time, good players will show theirself and I can move a retribution Paladin into my groups, but until they learn to work with the group, all the benefits of the retribution tree are wasted on poor play.

When thinking of buffs and auras where multiple Paladins are concerned it becomes frustrating at times. I have seen several Paladins just switch their auras at will with no regard for the effect on the group they run with. This is worse when you have two or more Paladins in a group and they end up having the same aura up. Buffs must be planned out at the beginning of the group so that each Paladin knows what they are casting. Healing a Paladin is actually fairly easy. The prot Paladins will typically get the FoL, while retributions get BoL and reap the benefits of fighting near the tank (now if they would just stay there).

In closing my final thoughts on the Paladin is much the same as that of the Druid, there is so much potential that gets lost from people not focusing on one aspect of their character. I truly hope a core group of people really take hold of that notion because the hybrid classes have so much potential it is ashame for it to be wasted on poor play.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Know Thy Friends (Death Knight Edition)

Well, I had to get to Death Knights sooner or later. I decided sooner rather than later. I just want to get this post out of the way to be honest. It is no secret to anyone who knows me so I might as well share with the blogsphere as well. I dislike Death Knights. I think they are going to lead to WoW becoming very, very, very, very simplistic. I think we are starting to see this even now as we speak, but I digress as this is a topic for another blog at a later date. Back on topic with the Death Knight.

My main reservation right now with Death Knights as a class is that every one that I have had the pleasure (or pain) of running with, has been utterly horrible. I truly do avoid this class if at all possible. As a whole, they definitely have the ability to be strong tanks and can unload fearsome levels of damage. This should make them one of the most sought after classes for my traditional mind set of thinking you would think. You would be thinking wrong. I do think there is tremendous upside to the Death Knight and in a year or so from now, I can see myself retracting my statement and issuing an apology; however, that is a year or so from now.

My big issue with Death Knights is their lack of skill and thought that they do not need to have skills. I have run countless instances with them and they are all ran the same, chaotic and no regard for anyone else in group. Apparantly the thinking behind a Death Knight is charge into battle, cast every single thing at your disposal and cut down the enemy. Then yell at any non-Death Knights for standing there wondering what in the world is going on. I am not kidding and I am as serious as a heart attack. I am sure somewhere out there in some remote corner of WoW, there is a Death Knight with skill who understands working with a group and is learning to set a rotation for DPS or tanking, but at this time, it seems there are few.

I watched a few days ago, when I agreed to help a friend through a low level instance (BF), as a Death Knight (a friend of his, that I did not know) litterally died, because at 80, they can obviously take on every mob in BF alone. I was all too happy to let the player run ahead and not wait for their friend to regenerate health. The thing that amazed me is that this player did not do it once, but kept doing it. Apparantly, they felt it was fun to have huge repair bills and continue to display their lack of skill. It actually took longer to run that instance than if it had been a low level group running it for the first time. I could let it go, but this is the type of play I see from every Death Knight I have ran with. There are a couple members of our guild who are working on Death Knights and I only hope that they do not fall prey to this crazed, throw all caution to the wind method of playing. Only time will tell.

As far as healing a Death Knight goes, who knows? I am not kidding, if they slowed down and ran similar to a rogue, then BoL could be a great spell for them. The buff that most have asked for is GBoM, which I do see some logic in that as it does improve their melee DPS numbers. As there have been limited runs with Death Knights, I will revisit this topic at a later date. It will be interesting in a years time to see how viable a class the Death Knight is.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Know Thy Friends (Druid Edition)

Okay, so in continuing my series of classes I choose to (or not) I want to take a closer look at Druids. I was really torn on the Druid class, because they bring so much to the table. They are litterally the most versatile class in the game. If you need heals, the Druid can give some great heal over time (HoT) spells. If you have a void for your tank, they go bear form and there is your tank. Perhaps you are in need of some DPS, well which do you prefer, caster or melee? So with so much versatility why in the world did they not make the group of classes I choose to run with, if available?

It is the versatility that makes me not like running with a Druid. I know it sounds crazy. I choose not to have the single most useful class in the game because they are too useful? No, this is not the case. It is actually the exact opposite. I have witnessed too many good groups fail completely because there was a Druid who was confused over what they were suppose to be doing. Let me say it a different way. Druids have a ton of abilities, but it is like the the old saying a jack of all trades, master of none. Often times when I am looking for a group to run something and I do not have a tank on from the guild and request in the looking for group channel, trade channel, or general channel; I will very clearly express that the group needs a tank. Without fail, there will be a Druid who responds, which is great, but not so great when I check them in Armory and they do not have single piece of gear that remotely resembles what a tanking Druid would be wearing. Then I will explain and then they get upset.

Another thing abour Druids which makes me hesitant to group with them is the fact that Druids tend to respec and fill multiple roles. This is good right? Again, I think it is a detractor, they end up doing so much that they never specialize and develop their skills in any one talent or role. This is detrimental I feel in a five man group, where each member needs to have a specific role and know what to do, not wait to be told what they are needed to do. It is sad but true. Within my own guild, we have a Druid who is excellent some of the time, but it depends on what spec he is at that moment. He knows his character well, but having run with him, I have seen some things that other classes may do better, simply because that is the only role they may be able to fill.

I am not trying to be harsh here. I have ran with some great Druids who understood their roles and were able to run flawlessly, but I have seen this to be an exception and not the rule. I compare a Druid to myself often times. I am a Holy Paladin (most of the time). If I decided today, to go home and respec to Protection, I would be able to grab some gear from my bank and some from the auction house. I could fumble through a run more than likely. If I had a good healer, they could keep me alive and we could probably clear it with a few wipes. I probably would not mark very well and would more than likely struggle to hold agro while I learn my threat rotation. Would I be successful? Maybe. Could someone else had done this job better? Absolutely.

I realize that anyone could say the same for me being a Holy Paladin. I would not argue with them. The logic would be correct. I would be annoyed, but could not refute it. Have I ever not allowed someone in a group because they are a Druid? No. I am always willing to run with anyone, because that is the only way to really learn and develop my own skills. If I had a choice, I would still pick one of my core group to run with.

As far as blessings go for Druids, it is realy dependant on what role they are in. I always ask my Druids to let me know what blessing they want. Healing a Druid is somewhat tricky as well. I do not want to waste a heal and have seen it happen where I go to cast and they shape change, cast their own heal and then my own heal is pointless. I try to have a lot of communication with Druids as far as how they want me to handle healing them. Each Druid is a little different in what they want and I try to accomodate them accordingly. On the flip side, I dispise when Druids attempt to tell me how to heal an entire party. I have noticed that with other classes who can perform multiple roles that you get some who think they know the dynamics of every other class who may share this function with them. Typically this result in me being quiet, doing it their way and allowing them to die. Then wait for the expletives to clear the air and then explain to them how a Paladin has to function. This usually will bring them back in line.

So in closing, why would I not want a Druid in my group? Too versatile with no focus. I would say when you find a good Druid, add them to your friends list and keep them close because they are too rare it seems.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Know Thy Friends (Rogue Edition)

Alright, so here it is, the final member of a group I like to run with for my Holy Paladin. If you ask anyone who knows me if I preach about group dynamics, the answer would be a resounding yes. I do not pretend to know everything about this game, but if I am being serious (which happens more often then most people realize) then there are a few simple things I always go by, and group dynamics falls into this category.

Number Four: Rogues

The final member of my group, and the most questionable to some people, is the rogue. The rogue provides some decent CC ability pre-fight. The other two members who do CC in my group will have to either pull the mob or start the pull with their abilities. In comparison, a rogue (who is skilled) will be able to slide into position and sap the target making for one less member of a mob to worry about. This is a numbers game to me. Besides the ability for their CC, rogues have the ability to level some sick damage and damage over time from their poisons. Along, with this ability they can disrupt casters and stun targets mid fight. These are invaluable on a bad pull or a run where we may not know the instance inside and out.

The buff of choice for rogues I run with is GBoM. This increases the steady amount of damage that they can put out, which to me, is more important than a minor buff to their health. The real trick to having a rogue present is that they tend to pull agro when they start piling on the damage and this can make it hard to heal both a tank and a rogue. It use to be I would opt for some sort of mail or plate wearing DPS for that very reason; however, since the introduction of Beacon of Light (BoL), I am now able to heal both the tank and the rogue. I cast BoL on my rogue and continue to heal the tank in a more steady fashion with the rogue receiving the benefit of being there close to the tank, they too receive their heals. With this set up it allows me to be much more efficient in my healing duties and be able to heal multiple members, something that we paladins could use a little more of (but that would take less skill).

So in wrapping up my "A" team, let's review the line-up. For my tanking duties I like the solid numbers and rotations of warriors. For CC/DPS I squease every last drop out of my hunters, mages, and rogues. I will be honest, with this group of characters, I have never ran an instance where it did not turn out successful, but as is the case with anything in life, there are always exceptions. I am sure there are many combinations of groups which can meet these needs, but this is simply from point of view.

Over the next few days, I will continue the "Know Thy Friends" series and examine Death Knights, Druids, Paladins, Priests, Shaman, and Warlocks. In the continuation of this series, I will not number these classes, as they all do have something to offer, but in a more limited way, at least I feel. I definitely have ran groups with all of these classes and there have been numerous successes, so please do not feel I am saying that I will not run with these classes because I will, but as we look at each one individually I will establish my thought process as to why they were not the preferred classes that I run with.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Know Thy Friends (Warrior Edition)

Alright so breaking from the DPS side of life, I have decided to move on and focus on who I prefer for tanking duties. It was a tough call here because I have ran with several good tanks from all classes, but my favorite class to have tanking with me is a Warrior.

Number Three: Warrior

Why a warrior? They are not mana dependant. That pretty much sums it up. Okay, it is a little deeper than that. I truly think that Warriors tend to have a little better understanding of their skills than Paladins. I also think it is important to have a more diversified group that is not completely dependant upon the use of mana. This really only leaves me to choose between a death knight and a warrior. I go with the warriors here because the majority of the warrior community that tanks understands their agro rotations, whereas death knights seem to charge in with little thought for the rest of the group, which I understand it is really their nature, but for me I need more organization than that. Another thing I have noticed is that warriors, for whatever reason, seem to spend more time marking a run. I don't know if it has to with the mechanics of the class or if it is because a lot of warriors may have been playing the game longer at their specific class.

Healing for my tanks is really straight forward, I use Flash of Light for the majority of the time, only wasting valuable time to cast Holy Light if the situation grows dire. It is a pretty straight forward tactic that does not change with time. Sure we add in our new fangled Sacred Shield and other such spells, but for straight on heals, FoL is still tops in this paladins arsenal. As far as the buffing goes, I will usually ask the tank what they want. I currently can use both GBoM and GBoK (although this may change in the near future). Auras are never a concern to me, I always go with my Concentration Aura for the ability to continue casting while taking damage. I trust my warriors to be able to break any agro off of me and if all else fails I have stuns and a bubble.

I know a lot of people, may disagree perhaps on these selections so far, but I feel with a warrior tank you get solid tanking ability and a few more skills for drawing agro and then we add in the CC of the hunter and mage and this is looking like a fine group. Sure there a lot of combinations and any number of them are viable, but I have found that this combination seems to work best. Tomorrow I will unviel my final group member and then we will focus on the remaining classes in the following days and discuss more the reasons I did not pick them.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Know Thy Friends (Mage Edition)

Okay so in a previous post I started a series of the classes that I prefer to run with and the reasoning behind this. I am going to continue on with this series today listing my number two class that I, as a Holy Paladin, prefer to run with.

Number Two: Mage

It is pretty obvious as far as CC goes, it does not get much better than mages. If you need solid DPS, there is the mage again. Need some ad-hoc CC, they can always freeze mobs in place. Looking for some AOE, you guessed it, mages deliver. There is no deep secret here and for the most part I have found mages to be stable players with level heads on their shoulders. The only downside is that once they get aggro if the tank cannot pull it off, the mage will go down. In a solid group though this shouldn't be a problem.

Another positive side to having a mage in a group is the intellect buff. As a healer, I love that. It helps me have a larger mana pool, allowing for more versatility in the style of healing I wish to do. The vending machine aspect is also a nice touch and much appreciated as it allows the consumption of goods to restore my mana at will with little thought or concern for running out. At the end of a run, there is nothing better than having a mage port the whole group back to a major city. Makes for a nice ending to a successful run, which when a mage is present, seems to occurr more often than not.

The buff of choice for mages seems to be GBoW and why not? Restores their mana that much faster allowing them to mow down enemy combatants that much quicker. Healing is minimal for mages in my group. I usually have to ignore them and hope they can place theirself in a block of ice or a tank gets the agro off of them. I know, I am sorry guys and gals, but squishies make for a waste of mana. I try to pop a heal, but there are others who must stay up. Again, typically not an issue, but once in a while you have a bad pull or an "oh shit" moment.

So in closing we can see now how my group is shaping up. I have a hunter for solid DPS and CC. I have now added my second DPS in the mage, who also brings group buffs and unparralled CC. Only room for one more DPS now! Who will it be? As far as, the rest of the classes, I will continue the series and touch on each class and even explain the reason why I do not like death knights and priests.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Know Thy Friends (Hunter Version)

So quite some time ago I started this post concerning other classes and how I view them in the game. I was going to go into great detail about what buffs I like to place on them and the method I approach to healing them and all this other wonderful information that helps to explain my thoughts, but now that Wrath has come, it seems all the rules have changed and I have reservations on posting such an article, but it still seems somewhat of a relevant topic, so having thought much about it, I decided to approach it from the standpoint of the types of classes I prefer to run with, my reasoning for choosing them over others, and the methods I will "typically" use to keep them alive. In essence, it is a list of classes I prefer to be grouped with. It is not going to be founded on deep number crunching, statistics, or group dynamics. Instead it is a list of personal preferences. The classes that I have found I get along with the best, if you will. Due to the size of this content, I am going to spread it out over several days.

Number One: Hunters

I know I just lost half of my support right now for listing hunters. I have heard all the arguments against "huntards"; however, if you ever have the privilage of running with one who knows what they are doing, then you must admit they have excellent CC abilities and provide solid DPS. As a healer these are things I like to see. I will admit it though, even though they rank at the top of my list, 75% of them are horrible. They do not understand shot rotation or the fact that they are a utility player with their CC and ability to misdirect back to a tank. Even with these detractors, I have been fortunate to know three to four decent hunters in my days and they more than make up for the hundreds of miserable hunters out there.

I do want to say though, do not get me wrong, if a hunter attempts to get in my group and you are survival, there is zero chance I am running with you. It is not you, but rather me. I have never met one survival hunter who is useful to me. I still hold out hope, but I am not risking a huge repair bill for it. Marksmen hunters are on par with Beastmaster hunters to me. It just depends on their skills and if they truly understand their class. I have learned to rely on my hunters to monitor the agro situation and if there is an issue use misdirect to keep me safe and sound. I rely on the hunters to have the proper skills to know when their traps will break and be able to either get the agro to the tank or retrap. If you do not have these skills please go work on them and then come back to my groups. I am not being mean, but rather I know what they are capable of and I expect the very best from this class.

As far as the buffs go that I use for hunters, it really depends on what they are doing. If they are on their game it is typically going to be (Greater) Blessing of Might to help up their DPS. If they tend to go overboard on their abilities I will give them (Greater) Blessing of Wisdom, but to me, a hunter who does not understand their mana levels, probably does not know anything of a shot rotation, which gives me little hope that they can trap, and even less hope that they actually thought about the type of pet they have and how to talent it, so it probably does not bode well for me running with them for an extended period of time.

As far as the healing front goes for hunters, I tend to not have to worry about them. They usually have high amounts of health and when played properly are not taking damage, but rather letting any damage coming their way, get picked up by their pets. Usually, the hunter is the only DPS class I will heal simply because they can take somewhat of a beating and they have many useful skills that are valuable during a fight. (Don't get upset mages, if I can, I keep you alive as well.) Although, if you are a beastmaster spec and your pet dies, it is safe to guess that you are in danger of going too, since a good majority of your usefullness will be gone, especially if you have no clue how to trap.

So in closing for hunters. Yes, you are number one on my list because of the multitude of things you are capable of doing, not because of the amount of damage you can do. If I longed for pure damage I am sure there could be some other classes ahead of you, but I like you for your damage and your abilities to control the crowds and keep my healing ass covered.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Quality Verses Numbers

So over the course of the weekend, our guild decided to run good old ZA. We were in good shape with an overabundance of healers, so I was able to take my 70 hunter on the run. Yes, occassionaly I like to be able to do something else besides healing. We started into the instance and it was a mixture of people who had never ran before and a few of the core raiders that we have.

It was a disaster.

It got me thinking about what went wrong. I did not stay for the whole run because of personal reasons, but I was able to occassionaly look over or hear my wife getting frustrated with a multitude of issues. At the time I was not in a good mood, but having spent some time thinking about it, it has become somewhat amusing to me. How can a huge repair bill be fun or amusing? I will tell you.

I have a quote on one of my forums signatures that says (and I paraphrase this) we learn by doing things when we have never done them before. If I can recall which one it is from I will come back and correct this, but in the case of this group who ran ZA, this saying applies. A few of the members were undergeared for ZA in the first place, while others were so overgeared it was not even funny. They through together an on-the-fly raid group and decided they would not only take down ZA, but do the timed run portion of it. I will not go into details of the run, but they did finish the run and cleared ZA. I do not want to dwell on who did what wrong or even focus on the aspects of the raid. My goal here is to question the fact that our guild has grown and grown and grown. With the increase in numbers, did we go down in skill?

Just as the title says, is having numbers more important than having quality players who know their roles and know what is expected of them? I must admit that as the guild leader I am torn. On one side I would love to see the guild grow and be able to run 25 man Naxx whenever they want to. On the other hand, I miss the old days, where you logged in and knew every member of the guild and could rely on them in a pinch. So it makes me question which is more important?

Well, the answer really amused me. Neither is important. The game is about having fun and doing what you enjoy the most. Sure as the head of the guild I have a little more to deal with, but this is why I have officers to help. I do want to see all the end game content and in order for this to occurr, we must grow and gain new members. I also want to be able to log on and know everyone. In order for this to occurr I just simply have to be friendly and when I do not know someone, simply introduce myself and check in and see how things are going. Thus I answer my own question, but perhaps not the concern of the members who have seen some issues with the growth of the guild.

So to that end I thought a little more and came up with this answer. If the new members are going to become old members, then they must know what is expected of them, thus the officers will need to do their roles and make sure that we are plugging these individuals in and running with them. To this end, I have gone out of my way to stop what I am doing and go assist a group if they are in need of a healer. If it is a lower instance I am willing to run an alt with them and help them learn how to function properly in a group. Does this work? Not always. Some people are beyond help. However, there are some really good success stories and that is what I strive for. I believe that if you have a quality core group of individuals, the numbers come in time, which is apparant by the growth of MAS.

I know this is not a deep or insightful post, but I do know that there are members of MAS who have asked what is going on and expressed concerns and I am sure there are others on here who read the random blog that probably have the same issues. So in closing, the numbers are important. You cannot be a guild of one, two, three, four, or five, but you need people. The answer to this is to make sure and surround yourself with quality people. Then in turn those people surround theirself with quality people and you begin to see the guild grow, thus achieving both quality and numbers.

Monday, January 5, 2009

World PVP, There Should Be More

First let me say sorry that I have not posted anything for a while. I was not feeling so hot for about a week there, but the meds have kicked in and I am feeling back up to par so onward and upward!

As the title of this post states, there needs to be more world PVP in WoW. I play on a PVP server and sure I remember way back when I started I hated the ganking and camping that occurred, but I find now that there is none of this occurring. It is hard to find a good fight, much less pick one. I have actually seen individuals who have both an alli and horde account! How can this be? Is there no loyalty in the game? Well, in our guild, I am looking to shake things up. I have recently started to demand more from the officers and guild as a whole. We have had a huge push and change of focus to PVE. This is what the majority of the guild has desired, so we are going to make sure and offer this to our members; however, last night one of our DKs needed to release some pent up anger. He selected South Shore. He road into the alli town and wiped the place on his own. I went along with a hunter alt I had, because I had missed playing him. In truth I had been in a rut, feeling burned out and tired of running the same stuff over and over and having no desire to level fast at all. Well, last night it occurred to me why. I am a PVPer, it is plain and simple. Sure I love the fun of running raids with my friends and guildmates, but in all honesty, there is nothing more fun than taking over an enemy town. Holding it hostage and having your way with it. Please do not get me wrong, I am not in favor of corpse camping, but sometimes you have to break a few eggs to make an omlet.

That is what we felt last night. It had been a while since we had a good throw down at all, so the easiest place to get a fight is by going to South Shore. We did just that, we rode into town, ransacked the place, chased down and slaughtered every alli in site. We were getting bored, our DK was making edicts as the new mayor, and we were thinking about calling it a night. Then we got a little hope, someone whispered the DK and asked him why he was doing this? They complained about camping their "alt". Yes, I do despise on a PVP server when people have two seperate accounts and have both Horde and Alliance, not so much playing both sides, but complaining about getting killed is what annoys me. It is a PVP server, which is what the response back to this individual was. It was a godsend. We were overran with alli fighters. They wiped the place with the five of us who were there. We had finally gotten the war we wanted. It sparked something in me, I haven't felt in quite some time, the urge to play the game. I retrived the corpse of my hunter, faught a slow retreat and logged out. I grabbed my pali, through on my healing arena gear and hit the flight path coming in hot to Tarren Mill, since the allis were now camping our town. I landed and was able to catch a 79 mage sleeping at the wheel with no mana; however, the other thirteen were a bit more than what I could handle. It was a glorious death. I could not have hoped for anything more fitting. We soon realized the fight was hopeless for our numbers. So we rezzed and had fun with the allis, leading a chase across Hillsbrad to Hammerfall, back to Hillsbrad, over to Silverpine and back to South Shore. Little did they realize we were gathering our numbers. We ended back up in Tarren Mill, still losing this fight, but our numbers growing one in bound flight path after another. Our guild decided to restore some old world PVP in Tarren Mill and the alli were not prepared. A massive rez with three healers and too much DPS wiped the alli out. They did a slow retreat, rezzing and dieing all the way back to South Shore. Two hours later I logged off my pali standing on top of the inn of South Shore. We had control of the town. I do not know how long this went on, but it reminded me of all that I found that was fun in the game (and no it is not the killing of low levels, but you have to make them cry or hit the right alt to get the real fighters in town).

I doubt either side could say there was a clear victory. I am sure the repair bill on my hunter and pali will not seem like there was a victory; however, it was the most enjoyable time I have spent in WoW in a long time, and it has renewed my desire to play the game. Sure there will be raiding and instances to run and epic loot to gain, but for me, the dirty little pleasure of this game is the fighting of those who don the colors of the Alliance. I will be out there, waiting, watching, hoping that you want to fight. The drums of war are sounding once more!